The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s big-time financial advantage, in two charts

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The race between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch is pretty even with voters heading to the polls today. What hasn't been even -- not by a long shot -- is the money battle, which has heavily favored Colbert Busch.

House Majority PAC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have spent big to boost Colbert Busch, while national Republicans have left Sanford out to dry. The result has been an incredibly one-sided outside-group spending war, as the chart below shows. The data come from a Sunlight Foundation tally of independent expenditures.

House Majority PAC and the DCCC have been by far the biggest outside spenders. Taken together, the two groups spent about $884,000 on independent expenditures. Sanford has gotten no help from the NRCC. His biggest ally has been Independent Women's Voice, a conservative-leaning non-profit organization. which has poured in about $160,000.

Colbert Busch outraised Sanford more than 2-1 -- $878,000 to 375,000 — between mid-March and mid-April. And by the end of that period, Colbert Busch had spent $941,000 throughout the entire race, compared to Sanford's $624,000, according to campaign finance records.

Sanford made a homestretch fundraising push (Gov. Nikki Haley (R) helped him raise money last week), but Colbert Busch kept pace with big donors, as the following Sunlight Foundation chart shows.

The fact that a very one-sided spending battle has pulled Colbert Busch to only about even in the polls with an ethically flawed Sanford speaks to the heavy GOP tilt of the district. Democrats were always going to have to spend big to compete there. We'll find out shortly whether their investment will pay off.